Saturday, 9 July 2011

Heroes' Heroes. Kubrick Letter to Bergman

Was looking at Hollywood Elsewhere and found this, with original link given relating to Letter of Note website (it's literally too busy for me to give the link at the moment!) - the fanboy letter to Bergman sent during the period Kubrick was making Spartacus. How adorable. So even the Kubrick's find themselves going all gooey over someone they think is so awesome it's necessary to disclaim the letter by saying they know before they start that their hero won't give two shits about the praise they find bursting out of them. Warms the heart.

Full letter text:

Dear Mr. Bergman,
You have most certainly received enough acclaim and success throughout the world to make this note quite unnecessary. But for whatever it’s worth, I should like to add my praise and gratitude as a fellow director for the unearthly and brilliant contribution you have made to the world by your films (I have never been in Sweden and have therefore never had the pleasure of seeing your theater work). Your vision of life has moved me deeply, much more deeply than I have ever been moved by any films. I believe you are the greatest film-maker at work today. Beyond that, allow me to say you are unsurpassed by anyone in the creation of mood and atmosphere, the subtlety of performance, the avoidance of the obvious, the truthfullness and completeness of characterization. To this one must also add everything else that goes into the making of a film. I believe you are blessed with wonderfull actors. Max von Sydow and Ingrid Thulin live vividly in my memory, and there are many others in your acting company whose names escape me. I wish you and all of them the very best of luck, and I shall look forward with eagerness to each of your films.
Best Regards,
(Signed, ‘Stanley Kubrick’)
Stanley Kubrick                                                                                                                               "

Ah, how sweet. And delightfully flawed - I was momentarily shaking my head in dismay at Kubrick admitting he didn't know the names of the other actors he liked... until I remembered there was no IMDB in the '60s.

It's also uncannily appropriate - Bergman is one of those filmmakers I have somehow not gotten around to watching. I know, horrifying declaration, a confession you should only articulate to blissfully unaware sleeping children or to the body at a wake, and one that I know many people will think I should keep to myself. But there you have it - one part lack of personal excitement about any one film to 9 parts curious habit of foilment every time I have planned to sit down with Wild Strawberries or Persona or whatnot has led to a Bergman free existence. But last week I swore to watch at least two in the next fortnight. And here I am today not just reading about this letter but also now in love with this article about him:

Guardian article about Bergman week in Faro

So it's settled. But what film should I sit down with? One of the above, or the most most obvious, or something completely different? 


  1. Ahhhh bless him, just makes me want to give him a cuddle!!

    Great find Hels!!

  2. I know right?! Makes me wanna go back to the Kubrick Archives in London and spend hours reading his crazy notes and stuff in the fantastically Kubrickian white and glass archive wing. Have you been? you would so love it!

  3. I have not been I am afraid Hels.

    I would imagine it would be a cool ting to do. I am afraid I am just not one of the cool cats anymore wife/kids/work have grounded me so.

  4. Actually I'm getting the impression that the thing the cool cats do is have kids and then raise them to be sensible, culturally nuanced people - not kidding, so many of my friends had kids last year, are having kids this year or have just found out they're pregnant that it's hitting the 9 out of 10 cool people level. Infact there are so many I realised a couple of months ago that by next year friends' kids will be having their birthday two days before mine, one day before, on the day, and the day after!

    Since we're crap at scheduling we didn't manage to go but we will in the next month or so - tell you what, you gis hint what kind of stuff would wet your whistle the most and we'll make you photocopies n take pictures :p Last time we went I had to get copies of his crazy notes about Dr. Strangelove and his telegrams asking James Earl Jones to be in his movie :D


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